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Comparing Probability of Police Officer Dismissals in London Between Misconduct Hearings Chaired by Chief Officers and Legally Qualified Chairs

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Sherman, Lawrence W 
Villa-Llera, Carmen 
Barnes, Geoffrey C 
Roner, Michele 


jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:sec jats:titleResearch Question</jats:title> jats:pDid the probability of a Metropolitan Police officer being dismissed in misconduct hearings in 2014–2018 differ between hearings chaired by Chief Officers in comparison to those chaired by Legally Qualified Chairs, overall and by ethnicity?</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleData</jats:title> jats:pWe examined all 234 standard (excluding “special” or “accelerated”) misconduct hearings resolved by the MPS in all 22 months jats:italicprior</jats:italic> to the first hearings chaired by Legally Qualified Chairs (LQCs) in 2016, and in the first 22 months jats:italicafter</jats:italic> the first LQC hearings, for a total of 44 months. We limited the time period after LQCs began to chair hearings to the 22 months before a further change in 2018 allowed officers to resign (without permission) while charges were still pending against them (thus averting being dismissed). A total of 142 standard misconduct hearings were chaired by Chief Officers, and 92 cases were chaired by LQCs. Of the 142 Chief Officer cases, 20 cases were heard after the advent of LQC cases, because Chief Officers were still required to chair hearings in relation to misconduct investigations initiated under regulations in effect prior to 2012.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleMethods</jats:title> jats:pWe compared the probability of a dismissal for all standard misconduct hearings that were chaired by Chief Officers to the dismissal probability in all cases heard by LQCs. We also compared dismissal rates in the two groups of hearings when subdivided by self-identified ethnicity as either “white” or officers of Black, Asian, and Multiple Ethnic Heritage (BAMEH).</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleFindings</jats:title> jats:pThe probability of officer dismissal in standard misconduct hearings chaired by Chief Officers was 47% (67 out of 142); the probability in such hearings chaired by LQCs was 34% (31 out of 92). The probability of dismissal in LQC-chaired hearings was therefore 29% lower in LQC hearings than in Chief Officer–chaired hearings. Hearings chaired by Chiefs were 38% more likely to decide to dismiss an officer. The dismissal rates between the two categories of hearings showed even greater difference by ethnic disparity, with white officers dismissed in LQC hearings at half the rate (27%) as in hearings chaired by Chief Officers (46%). This pattern yielded a large difference in ethnic disparity of dismissals, with BAMEH officers 115% more likely than white officers to be dismissed in LQC hearings, but only 13% more likely to be dismissed than white officers in Chief Officer hearings, with a disparity ratio in dismissal outcomes for the 19 BAMEH officers in LQC hearings that was eleven times higher than for the 31 BAMEH officers in the Chief Officer hearings. This higher disparity is due primarily to lower LQC dismissal rates for white officers and not to substantially higher dismissal rates of BAMEH officers by LQCs than by Chief Officers. Part of the overall difference in dismissal rates is a 20% reduction in cases being proven in hearings chaired by LQCs relative to Chief Officer–chair cases.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleConclusions</jats:title> jats:pIn the time period examined, the probability of dismissal for officers in LQC hearings was substantially lower than in Chief Officer hearings, especially for white officers. These comparisons do jats:italicnot</jats:italic> come from a randomized experiment in which alternative explanations are held constant, which could have isolated the only cause of lower dismissal rates in the single factor that they were chaired by an LQC. Other explanations for the lower LQC rates therefore remain possible, such as missing data on certain variables. Nonetheless, on the evidence in this report, we cannot reject the hypothesis that using LQCs as chairs of standard hearings on police misconduct has caused lower rates of officer dismissal.</jats:p> </jats:sec>



Scientific Communication

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Cambridge Journal of Evidence-Based Policing

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC